Everyone has heard today’s latest buzzwords surrounding IT and the move toward customer centric solutions. Customer experience, BYOD, user experience, and engagement (just to name a few) are among the top from the ever-growing list. They all sound great in theory, but when it comes down to it, they are not traditionally viewed as mission critical or life critical and often get pushed to the back burner when discussing budget. Hospitals must start realizing how much monetary potential and business value there is around the patient experience, and how heavily it is dictated by the network infrastructure. The patient experience depends on it!
When you are in need of a hospital, normally you are in a rush and pick the closest one to you. But for those who are scheduling procedures, appointments or other non-urgent medical visits, they have the luxury of picking their hospital of choice. To prove how this is impacting hospitals and leaving impressions on patients, I typed into a Google search engine, “hospital reviews about Wi-Fi.” This search quickly produced a number of results with reviews attached to hospitals. Here are three of the top results that came up of people taking the time to talk about their experience with Wi-Fi:
“If you want entertainment, the TV doesn’t provide many channels. Talk to the staff though, they have many good stories and will keep you sane. Everyone has a story…luckily these people are willing to share. Hey, even if you’re just depressed, fake an injury and go entertain yourself, hahaha. The 2nd floor can be quite difficult to get internet service on your phones and it is almost impossible to connect to the hospital’s Wi-Fi.”
This review features a patient’s negative experience with the Wi-Fi, but later highlights their positive experience with the staff, acknowledging their ‘quickness, knowledge, professionalism, and kindness’ successfully providing the treatment and solution needed. Despite having received positive medical treatment, the patient rated the hospital with a less than perfect score of only 4 stars. The logical explanation for this rating could very well be attributed to their poor Wi-Fi experience limiting the patient’s entertainment options while in the hospital.
-FREE WI-FI throughout waiting area/urgent care, etc! Yay
-Widescreen TV was set to Discovery Channel. (yay thank gosh it wasn’t set to a horrible soap opera or talk show)”
This patient was thrilled with this hospital’s free Wi-Fi offering and went out of their way to mention it in their review. They even emphasized their feelings in capital letters, which conveys how important it was and the positive impact it made on their stay. What can we conclude from this?
“A clear plus is free Wi-Fi so you can use your own mobile devices while waiting. Other than Wi-Fi, this hospital just feels old and neglected – it’s not surprising that county officials are searching for a new replacement.”
This one speaks for itself; “A clear plus is free Wi-Fi”. Another eye opening takeaway is the last sentence of this review, which tells us that Wi-Fi helps fuel the perception of the hospital. If you don’t have fast, free Wi-Fi your hospital may be viewed as old, outdated or out of touch with new technology.
Tablets, smartphones, laptops, and wearable devices aren’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, in 2014 Gartner predicted that 2.1 billion tablets and mobile devices would be bought and shipped in 2014. To put that in perspective, that is almost one-third of the global population with a wirelessly connected device. Deloitte predicts that over 1 billion smartphones will be bought just in 2015. Hospitals need to acknowledge these facts and understand that patients of these devices need to be connected to fast, reliable wireless Internet. They need to provide the Wi-Fi for these patients, which in turn will generate better reviews, perception, more foot traffic, and ultimately more revenue.